A quick simulation run on a 9×9 board ran for over 2,500 turns. Repeating on a 7×7 board with a somewhat dumber greedy algorithm hit 900 turn before I got tired. This is clearly unreasonable for a tabletop game.
Some concepts for address:
Keep the board size no large than 7×7. While 6×6 is tempting, the side-length being a natural multiple of 3 is overly pleasant. 5 or 7 are more attractive and 5×5 appears to be clearly too small.
Give a marker to the start player. After the player with the marker takes a turn, they must place an unmarked level 1 tile of the highest level the player is qualified for1 on an empty square of the board, if possible without causing a glob. If a glob is formed, the resultant tile is left unmarked. After their turn they pass the marker to their right (against the flow of turns).
Among the objects that can be placed during setup are a variously large number “rocks” which create dead squares on the board and thus break up object formation globs.
When three ore more level 4 objects glob, the active player is awarded a VP tile…which is placed on the board with a player marker and otherwise acts as a “rock”.
The game ends N rounds after the first VP tile is placed.
- humans > animals > vegetables. ↩